SRI LANKA – The government of Sri Lanka has set aside Rs. 500 million (US$6.64M) to facilitate the purchase of local paddy rice under the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) following a bumper Maha season.

Mahinda Amaraweera, the Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industry revealed this on March 13, adding that Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe approved the provision.

The financial boost comes after a recent announcement by Minister Amaraweera that Sri Lanka has attained self-sufficiency in rice production following bumper production this season.

Amaraweera was speaking while joining a press briefing held at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) on the theme ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’ on January 29.

This achievement, according to him, is the result of years of dedicated efforts by farmers and government initiatives to boost domestic rice production.

It not only bodes well for the nation’s food security but also represents a critical step towards reducing reliance on imports and strengthening the agricultural sector.

This means that Sri Lanka is not expected to import any rice in 2024, a remarkable achievement that promises greater food security and economic independence.

Under this, at least 12 paddy stores in nine districts will be opened for buying paddy of Hambantota, Monaragala, Ampara, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Kurunegala, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Anuradhapura regions.

The Agriculture Minister instructed the PMB Chairman to prepare another 100 paddy stores to be opened any time to purchase paddy.

Although requests were made from the Finance Ministry for Rs.2 bn for paddy purchase in this Maha Season, Finance Ministry officials did not respond positively in this regard.

The Minister also mentioned that the Paddy Marketing Board started the purchase of paddy by obtaining Rs.250 million (US$3M) from the Farmer Trust Fund.

Under the maximum price imposed by the government, a kilogram of paddy with 14 percent moisture will be brought at Rs.105, Rs.120 for samba and Rs.130 for Keeri samba, Rs. 90 for 1 kg of samba and Rs.100 for Keeri samba with more than 14 percent moisture.

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